It is no secret that the EU is set to grow older over the coming decades, and that already-strained social care services need reform to ensure accessibility, affordability, and quality of care. The EU institutions have taken note of this situation, with numerous initiatives recently published or currently under development: the Green Paper on Ageing, the Long-Term Care Report, Principle 18 of the European of Social Rights (EPSR) and the upcoming Care Strategy to name just a few. The debate has also spilled over into the European Parliament with the release of the EPP’s position paper on a European Care Strategy in July 2021, while many civil society organisations have been actively campaigning for EU action on care for several years.
The terms of the debate are clear: demand for care services will only increase as the EU population grows older in the coming decades. Accordingly, policymakers will need to take a careful, considered approach to care policy – one based on respect for people and their decisions, which puts accessibility, affordability, and quality at its heart, and works for the different care models of the 27 Member States. Such a policy is vital to ensure that EU citizens have a genuine choice between residential and home care.